The glowworm is seen in the story. In the story, you can point to the glowworm at the side of the road. You can hear the Slovenian poet say, "Look, it's a glowworm. It brings happiness. Use it." However, it is not the figure in the story, or even the story itself. It is the fact of the story existing.

oh Bob.
"Take my hand. There are two of us in this cave.
The sound you hear is water; you will hear it forever.
The ground you walk on is rock. I have been here before.
People come here to be born, to discover, to kiss,
to dream, and to dig and to kill. Watch for the mud.
Summer blows in with scent of horses and roses;
fall with the sound of sound breaking; winter shoves
its empty sleeve down the dark of your throat.
You will learn toads from diamonds, the fist from palm,
love from the sweat of love, falling from flying.
There are a thousand turnoffs. I have been here before.
Once I fell off a precipice. Once I found gold.
Once I stumbled on murder, the thin parts of a girl.
Walk on, keep walking, there are axes above us.
Watch for the occasional bits and bubbles of light —
Birthdays for you, recognitions: yourself, another.
Watch for the mud. Listen for bells, for beggars.
Something with wings went crazy against my chest once.
There are two of us here. Touch me."

The Blind Leading the Blind

Lisel Mueller


Back there then I lived

across the street from a home

for funerals—afternoons

I’d look out the shades

& think of the graveyard

behind Emily Dickinson’s house—

how death was no

concept, but soul

after soul she watched pour

into the cold

New England ground.

Maybe it was the sun

of the Mission,

maybe just being

more young, but it was less

disquiet than comfort

days the street filled with cars

for a wake—

children played tag

out front, while the bodies

snuck in the back. The only hint

of death those clusters

of cars, lights low

as talk, idling dark

as the secondhand suits

that fathers, or sons

now orphans, had rescued

out of closets, praying

they still fit. Most did. Most

laughed despite

themselves, shook

hands & grew hungry

out of habit, evening

coming on, again—

the home’s clock, broke

like a bone, always

read three. Mornings or dead

of night, I wondered

who slept there & wrote letters

I later forgot

I sent my father, now find buoyed up

among the untidy

tide of his belongings.

He kept everything

but alive. I have come to know


not noun

but verb, something

that, unlike living,

by doing right

you do less of. The sun

is too bright.

Your eyes

adjust, become

like the night. Hands

covering the face—

its numbers dark

& unmoving, unlike

the cars that fill & start

to edge out, quiet

cortège, crawling, half dim, till

I could not see to see—

The Mission by Kevin Young

Now we will count to twelve and we will all keep still

for once on the face of the earth, let’s not speak in any language;

let’s stop for a second, and not move our arms too much.

It would be an exotic moment without rush, without engines;

we would all be together in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea would not harm the whales

and the man gathering salt would not hurt his hands.

Those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire,

victories with no survivors, would put on clean clothes

and walk about with their brothers in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused with total inactivity.

Life is what it is about…

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving,

and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with death.

Perhaps the earth can teach us as when everything seems to be

dead in winter and later proves to be alive. Now I’ll count to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.

"Keeping Quiet" by Pablo Neruda

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe

Alfred Stieglitz - Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918

Persian cyclamen, from a painting by Abraham Pether. (The Temple of Flora, by Robert John Thornton)